Harry meets Sally 2 – ★★★
What If carries on trying to answer the question posed in When Harry Met Sally back in 1989 – can men and women be friends? The target demographic for What If will probably not have seen When Harry Met Sally or most Woody Allen movies. So it carries on in the vein attributed to most modern day remakes that young people don’t watch old films, hence remake them. While in no way a remake per se, What If is a hodge-podge of many romantic comedies through the ages which isn’t a bad thing, it just isn’t very original.
Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) attends a party at Allan’s house and bumps into Chantry (Zoe Kazan) where they hit it off only for Wallace to realise Chantry already has a boyfriend. They decide to become friends, resolute that any feelings they may have for one another will not come between them.
Allan (played by the always excellent Adam Driver) is Wallace’s reality check, constantly reminding him his attempt at friendship is doomed. Allan and his girlfriend Nicole reprise the roles played by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby in When Harry Met Sally, becoming the relationship stalwarts as Wallace and Chantry flounder about, awash in their emotions.
Radcliffe has adequately shaken off his Harry Potter cloak and Zoe Kazan as Chantry continues to excel from what we saw of her in Ruby Sparks back in 2012. The chemistry is believable, providing sweet and tender moments between the pair. Where the train starts to derail is with the escapade in Ireland. Chantry’s boyfriend gets shipped over to Dublin for work which takes the film from Woody Allen territory on the musings of relationships into the land of make believe.
Director Michael Dowse is on familiar ground and obviously a fan of 80’s teen movies, having directed his homage Take Me Home Tonight back in 2011. He captures the awkwardness of unrequited love and takes his time developing the characters to make their actions more palatable. What If isn’t as good as the greats, but could be a stepping stone for people to fall in love for the first time or all over again with the classics.
What If is released nationwide on Wednesday the 20th of August 2014